As I am in the midst of setting up a business which revolves around both yoga and art education, I am regularly posed with the question ‘how do those link then?’ – usually combined with a quizzical and confused expression. In the hope that I can reduce this response a little, or at least have the option to direct people to this post and save myself the constant explaining, I am here to clarify my decision for combining these two subjects in one fabulous mix.
First and foremost, it is because I am hugely passionate about both. I have studied Art History for the past 8 years and want to continue to further and share my knowledge of this ever expanding and vast subject. Similarly, Yoga has been one of my interests for a considerable number of years and has helped me grow as a person. In essence, Yoga and Art History have been incredibly influential and pivotal in my life and I want others to experience these incredible subjects. So, for me at least, this was enough to link the two. However, the reasoning does go deeper, beyond my own obsessions, and draws upon the deeply beneficial impact they have had on not only my life, but others as well.
It is at this point that I usually begin to lose my audience. With Yoga, people can see how it is beneficial without even knowing too much about it. They link it with working out and being super flexible. Due to its increasing popularity, most people are aware of its superficial benefits – if nothing else. Art History, however, is the part which seems to cause people to glaze over. How on earth can looking at art or even making art be beneficial to anyone’s life? It is for the upper class, the wealthy, the pretentious. This, however, is what I want to change and also add to.
Art History opened up a whole new world to me. One that taught me about historical events, their repercussions, politics surrounding them, philosophy responding to them. As a subject it drew parallels with areas I had never even considered as relevant to art – health issues, biology, climate change, geography, psychology. In essence, Art History taught me about most topics society expects you to know or school curriculums want you to learn. Yet, due to the stereotype which seems to cling to Art History as a subject, people are so unaware of the numerous things it can expose you to and teach you.
Yoga, similarly, has significantly deeper connections to our day to day lives than it appears on the surface. Rather than being a ‘work out’, yoga is meant, first and foremost, as a ‘work in’. It is a way of life, a journey to embark upon in order to discover more about yourself, society, humanity and the world we live in. Yoga, like Art History, provides us with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in other subjects we may otherwise not connect with. They both give a chance to open up creatively, explore new found connections, bend our mind and engage with the topics and issues surrounding us and embrace them. By becoming more open and understanding of the various influences and cultural tendencies throughout the ages and our time now, we develop further intellectually, and as people.
So, rather than seeing both as two sides of a coin, with absolutely no reason for being stuck together, I see Art/Art History and Yoga as inextricably linked. Both have the power to push people’s perceptions beyond the norm; both can help relieve stress; encourage creativity; and, most importantly, hold the influence to unify, inspire and nurture people from all walks of life.
And that is why I am developing a platform which embraces and promotes the two.